The fire tore through a strip of buildings on Clarkson Avenue just before 4:30 a.m., shooting flames through the roof.
Flames spread through numerous apartments, leaving residents standing in the street.
The fire also damaged the Mount Horeb Spiritual Baptist Church.
Eight firefighters were hurt, with at least two suffering burns. None of the injuries were life-threatening.
All the residents managed to escape the blaze and no other injuries were reported.
The Red Cross was finding housing for 16 residents.
The Fire Marshal blamed the fire on an electrical problem in the church.